The Ministry of Health is urging the public to be cautious in the preparation and consumption of ackee to avoid poisoning.

This as two cases of ackee poisoning have been reported since the start of the year.

The country’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye, says only well opened ackees are to be consumed.

Dr. De La Haye says ackee should be allowed to open naturally and fully on the tree before it is picked and eaten or sold.

He says if ackee is not allowed to open naturally or if it’s not prepared properly, it can be harmful due to the potential high levels of toxins called hypoglycin that it contains which he says can lead to death if consumed.

Dr. De La Haye is urging Jamaicans to take the necessary steps to properly prepare the fruit.

He’s also advising that other foods such as salt fish, ground provision and rice should be cooked separately when being prepared for consumption with the fruit.

Symptoms of ackee poisoning include vomiting, stomach cramps or abdominal pain, dizziness, diarrhoea and sweating.

Persons who are experiencing any of the symptoms are being urged to seek medical attention immediately and should have a sweet drink while on their way to the health centre or hospital.